I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Mary Davis' reflection, Creating a Tech Sabbath: Uninterrupted Being.
In unscheduled moments, my soul speaks and my heart listens.
Sundays are heavenly in my little "monastery" by the sea. This is my day to linger longer in morning meditation. A day when I can stretch, breathe and align without a phone chirping on the corner of my yoga mat. This is the day when my gratitude practice is not confined to a specific time of morning, but becomes a joyful journey of finding the holy in the small and the sacred in everyday moments. It is a day to read, to contemplate, to welcome and to allow.
For many years I have powered down all electronics on Sundays. It was a little stressful at first, and as the only employee of my inspirational creative arts business, there was no end to the stream of writing, digital art, and the making of cards and prints. Although everything that I write and create is spiritual in nature, it all takes place with my hands on a keyboard and my eyes on a screen. My soul aches for the freedom of looking into the distance, inside and out.
After a few Sundays of practice, I began to relish the open-ended flow of unstructured time to recharge my heart, create with my hands, nourish my soul and answer the call of spirit—without electronic interruption. I call this glorious day my Tech Sabbath.
The word Sabbath originates in the word sabat, meaning to stop or to rest. It is a day of renewal and devotion, honoring God's rest following six magnificent days of creation. In monastic traditions, Sundays were a day of rest with a focus on meditation, prayer and devotional reading.
I, too, need spiritual renewal after six long days of worldly ways. I need the space to remember the tender truth that most real creation doesn't take place on the phone. It happens in the heart. The heart deserves untethered time to integrate the lessons of the magnificent co-creation of the week. And so my Sabbath has become a day to honor the sacred spirit, remembering that wisdom and clarity originate in moments of stillness, prayer and listening.
In preparation for the Tech Sabbath, I tidy up my desk on Saturday night and ready myself for a fresh start on Monday morning. The excitement of spiritual freedom builds as I place special cloths over the desktop computer where my art is made and the laptop computer where my writing is done. The guidelines for Sundays are simple: to do nothing on a computer or phone, which includes no email, social media, news, online shopping or work of any kind. For my daughter or a friend in need, it is necessary to glance at texts, but I answer only the essential.
On any given Sunday my time might be completely unscheduled as I float with a steaming cup of Earl Grey to whatever nourishes my spirit. On the next Sunday I might have at the ready a good book, my journal, some cooking or hobby supplies, my kayak, my walking shoes—earthly tools that support my contemplative heart. The phone stays inside for beach walks, gardening and reading on the patio.
After a flurry of doing during the week, it is a retreat for my soul to step off the train of constant connectivity to bask in uninterrupted being. The walls of work that I build around myself for six days swing wide open to divine wisdom. I receive more focus, clarity and intuitive guidance when I step away and open up the channels of Sunday grace each week.
I have come to realize that my Tech Sabbath is one of the best gifts I have given to myself. I am slowly learning how to downshift into holy downtime, into rest and renewal, into lingering and listening, into being and allowing. I had to teach myself to break the endless routine of overworking at the computer and learn how to disconnect to reconnect, how to unplug to get centered, how to step away to come closer.
Creating space for uninterrupted being has become a sacred practice on my journey as a monk in the world.
Mary Davis is an author, wisdom seeker, spiritual teacher, graphic artist and founder of Every Day Spirit. She has a house by the sea and lives a contemplative life in harmony with nature. Her creative adventures can be found here: www.everydayspirit.net